The brothers Piron bleed chocolate. Figuratively, of course. Fred and Robert, the Belgian co-owners of this handmade chocolate shop, originally considered starting a bakery business, but the 4 a.m. wake-up call was a bit too much. So they settled on bringing European-style chocolate to the American masses. After Robert and mom Yvonne Colette learned the art of the craft as apprentices to a master chocolatier in Belgium, the shop was ready for opening.
Twenty-some years later, the Pirons are still avidly traditional about the ingredients of their chocolate. They import all non-dairy products from the old country and stick with classic Swiss-inspired and true-Belgian recipes, as well as a few newbies of their own. You can peek around the back to see the chocolate-makers at work, but smelling the rich zing of cooling chocolate is thankfully a totally passive experience. The chocolates glisten in two cases on gold-colored trays that look like they would be found on the nightstand of a king. Choose from among Grand Marnier truffles with butter cream tops, white chocolate manon and fruit de mer (the seashell-shaped delights with a hazelnut-parline center are favorites among clientele), all $1.35 per piece or $37.95 per pound (36 pieces). Fruits, toffees, barks and sugar-free chocolate are just a little steeper at $2.50 each.
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Puhala